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Riparian Restoration Decision Support Tool

An innovative riparian planting and restoration decision support tool, funded by the Appalachian LCC, is now available to the conservation community. This user-friendly tool allows managers and decision-makers to rapidly identify and prioritize areas along the banks of rivers, streams, and lakes for restoration, making these ecosystems more resilient to disturbance and future changes in climate. It will also help the conservation community invest limited conservation dollars wisely, helping to deliver sustainable resources.

Reparian Restoration Image Aug 2014The tool works by identifying vulnerable stream and riverbanks that lack tree cover and shade in coldwater stream habitats. By locating the best spots to plant trees in riparian zones, resource managers can provide shade that limits the amount of solar radiation heating the water and reduces the impacts from climate change. This well-established management strategy will benefit high-elevation, cold-water aquatic communities.


For instructions on how to use the tool, check out this Tutorial that describes steps to depict riparian areas that would benefit most from riparian restoration. In addition, a webinar presentation provides a detailed overview of how to use the tool. Jessica Rhodes, Appalachian LCC GIS Analyst, explains how managers and researchers can tailor the decision support tool to their own specific needs and priority areas and resources. A web viewer built in combination with the tool also allows users to visualize GIS data layers pertinent to elevation and land cover of the landscape, locations of dams and gas wells, and data pertaining to the presence of cold-water dependent species such as Eastern Brook Trout.

Both the research and tools from this project are being linked directly with ongoing and future stream flow, temperature, and biological response monitoring and modeling efforts within the DOI Northeast and Southeast Climate Science Center and neighboring LCCs.

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